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Samsung shows off new back side illuminated CMOS sensors

Posted on Wednesday, September 08 2010 @ 00:10:02 CEST by

Samsung announced it has developed two new CMOS imagers with back side illumination, the 5 megapixel S5K4E5 is optimized for smartphones while the 14.6 megapixel S5K2N1 is intended for digital cameras and digital video cameras. Both CMOS sensors are capable of recording 1080p HD video at 60fps and due to the back side illumination they should perform better in low light conditions than conventional imagers.
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced two new 1.4 micron CMOS imagers, the S5K4E5 and S5K2N1, adopting back side illuminated (BSI) pixel technology. With excellent performance capabilities in low light scenarios, each imager is optimized for target applications such as smartphones for the S5K4E5 and digital still cameras (DSC) and digital video cameras (DVC) for the S5K2N1. Samsung’s newest CMOS imagers will be demonstrated today at the seventh annual Samsung Mobile Solutions Forum held here in Taiwan at the Westin Taipei Hotel.

“The demand for higher quality images and video with ever shrinking pixel size has pushed the new technology innovation curve in CMOS imagers,” said Dojun Rhee, vice president of Marketing, System LSI Division, Samsung Electronics. “As such, CMOS image technology has become even more competitive in digital camera and video products that have been traditionally dominated by CCD technology. A small pixel size combined with best-in-class sensitivity under low light for still and video capture makes Samsung’s newest imagers ideal for traditional handheld cameras as well as smartphones.”

In contrast to the front side illumination technology, backside illumination collects photons from the backside of the pixel. The reversed structure moves the photodiode to the top maximizing photoelectric efficiency as the light is not scattered through the metal wiring and dielectric layers, which cause the loss of photons. Adoption of the BSI technology addresses the low light sensitivity concern common to CMOS image sensors as the pixel size reduces.

Samsung’s new BSI imagers show 30 percent enhancement in low light sensitivity over conventional front side illumination imagers of the same pixel size. By optimizing process parameters, Samsung was able to efficiently control crosstalk thereby improving the color, electrical and optical performance significantly.

The S5K4E5, a quarter-inch optical format 1.4 micron 5 megapixel (Mp) CMOS image sensor, is designed to support full resolution real-time video. By providing 30 frames per second (fps) full resolution frame rates it also enables the user to ‘catch the shot’ by capturing the frame as the user hits the shutter button thus reducing shot to shot lag time. The 5Mp imager has a wider chief ray angle that reduces the height of the imager package making it attractive for slim, small form factor smartphones with demanding z-height requirements.

The S5K2N1, a 1/2.33 inch optical format 1.4 micron 14.6Mp imager, offers 30fps capability at full resolution and leverages Samsung’s low-power 90 nanometer logic process technology. Samsung is able to offer a dedicated thermal enhanced plastic lead ceramic carrier (TePLCC) package to more effectively dissipate the heat generated by the high performance device.

These imagers also offer the ability to capture full high definition (HD) resolution video images at 60fps.

Samples of the 5Mp S5K4E5 are available now with mass production starting in the fourth quarter of this year. The 14.6Mp S5K2N1 is expected to start sampling in the fourth quarter of 2010 with production scheduled in the first quarter of 2011.



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